The AI genie is already out of the bottle. “Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones,” is among the questions posed by more than 1,600 technocrats, academics and researchers who signed an open letter that calls for a six-month pause in the development of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.
Funny, I don’t recall the hue and cry among America’s intelligentsia when automation and corporate raiders backed by Wall Street’s junk bonds hollowed out America’s industrial heartland during the 1980s and early 1990s.
The ensuing Rust Belt upended America’s political system and created a hopelessness that helped bring on the opioid epidemic.
The only difference between then and now is that AI is slated to wipe out white collar jobs, which are held by the friends and families of the open letter signers.
Goldman Sachs estimates that the development of AI systems will trigger “significant disruption” in the labor markets.
It projects that 300M jobs in the EU and US, which is about a quarter of the workforce, could be wiped out.
The investment bank, however, expects AI will trigger a productivity boom that will boost global gross domestic product by seven percent over a 10-year period.
Wasn’t the promise of productivity gains via automation of industrial belt used to justify the mass layoffs of blue-collar workers during the '80s and '90s?
My guess: what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander. The blue-collar workers of yesterday didn’t have a support network of intellectuals and elites.
But the US just can’t afford to pause the development of AI systems. Why threaten America’s leadership position at a time when strategic rivals like the People’s Republic of China are pushing ahead in AI?
To paraphrase Admiral David Farragut, the hero of Mobile Bay: "Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead on AI."
Outfoxed by Disney. Florida governor Ron DeSantis took the national spotlight when he stripped Walt Disney Co. of the right to manage government services for Disney World in Orlando.
The move was to punish Disney for its opposition to DeSantis’ “don’t say gay” law.
It was a PR win for DeSantis, providing a tough-guy image and making him a warrior against corporate wokeness.
To win the hearts and minds of America, DeSantis wants to position himself as a mini-Trump without the baggage of 24/7 whining, victimization and verbal assaults.
Team Ron, though, is not ready for prime time. It turns out that on Feb. 8 the Reedy Creek Improvement District transferred all its power to Walt Disney Co.
That was the day before DeSantis took over Disney.
On Feb. 27, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which is packed with DeSantis’ cronies, took office and discovered it was virtually powerless.
They found the former board’s agreement that bans it from using any Disney brands, trademarks or altering any of Disney World’s buildings without prior approval from Walt Disney Co.
Though a court may overturn the pact that neutered DeSantis’ Disney board, the episode shows DeSantis is in over his head when going head-to-head against heavyweights like Disney. Imagine DeSantis going up against China’s Xi Jinping over Taiwan.
DeSantis’s popularity has tanked since he left the friendly confines of Florida and its friendly press for his book tour. Since his ridiculous remark about the territorial dispute in Ukraine, it’s been all downhill for the governor.
Trump may have a point. The former president said without his endorsement, DeSantis “would be working in either a pizza parlor place or a law office right now, and he wouldn’t be very happy.”
Ron is not very happy these days. Maybe a slice of pizza would cheer him up.
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